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Written by Taylor Hatmaker

Chelsea Manning is back in jail after refusing to cooperate with WikiLeaks investigation

Following a week-long release from an Alexandria, Virginia detention center, Chelsea Manning is back in jail. Manning was jailed in March for her refusal to cooperate with a grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks.

Manning has made her position on the grand jury well known and refuses to cooperate with its proceedings on principle. Her release last week came as the grand jury that issued her a subpoena in January expired, though the grand jury that issued Manning her latest subpoena won’t expire for another 18 months.

“We are of course disappointed with the outcome of today’s hearing, but I anticipate it will be exactly as coercive as the previous sanction — which is to say not at all,” Manning’s attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen said of the day’s events.

A former intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army, Manning leaked more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, a large body of military field reports and harrowing footage of U.S. airstrikes to the secret-sharing organization WikiLeaks in 2010. Manning was convicted of most of the more than 20 charges against, but President Obama commuted her sentence before leaving office.

After her release last week, Manning shared a YouTube video in providing a bit of insight about why she objects to grand juries on moral grounds.

She doesn’t appear likely to back down. Aware of that, Judge Anthony Trenga made the unusual choice to fine Manning $500 for each day she remains uncooperative and in custody, starting after 30 days. After 60 days, that amount will increase to $1000 per day. Prior to her brief period of freedom in the last week, Manning spent two months jailed, a portion of which was served in solitary confinement like conditions, according to her legal team.

“Grand Juries and prosecutions like this one broadcast an expanding threat to the press and function to undermine the integrity of the system according to the government’s own laws,” Meltzer-Cohen said.

During her brief interlude walking free, Manning streamed Apex Legends and Red Dead Redemption 2 on Twitch.

Chelsea Manning is back in jail after refusing to cooperate with WikiLeaks investigation

Following a week-long release from an Alexandria, Va. detention center, Chelsea Manning is back in jail. Manning was jailed in March for her refusal to cooperate with a grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks.

Manning has made her position on the grand jury well known and refuses to cooperate with its proceedings on principle. Her release last week came as the grand jury that issued her a subpoena in January expired, though the grand jury that issued Manning her latest subpoena won’t expire for another 18 months.

“We are of course disappointed with the outcome of today’s hearing, but I anticipate it will be exactly as coercive as the previous sanction — which is to say not at all,” Manning’s attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen said of the day’s events.

A former intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army, Manning leaked to the secret-sharing organization WikiLeaks in 2010 more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, a large body of military field reports and harrowing footage of U.S. airstrikes. Manning was convicted of most of the more than 20 charges against her, but President Obama commuted her sentence before leaving office.

After her release last week, Manning shared a YouTube video providing a bit of insight about why she objects to grand juries on moral grounds.

She doesn’t appear likely to back down. Aware of that, Judge Anthony Trenga made the unusual choice to fine Manning $500 for each day she remains uncooperative and in custody, starting after 30 days. After 60 days, that amount will increase to $1,000 per day. Prior to her brief period of freedom in the last week, Manning spent two months jailed, a portion of which was served in solitary confinement-like conditions, according to her legal team.

“Grand Juries and prosecutions like this one broadcast an expanding threat to the press and function to undermine the integrity of the system according to the government’s own laws,” Meltzer-Cohen said.

During her brief interlude walking free, Manning streamed Apex Legends and Red Dead Redemption 2 on Twitch.

San Francisco passes city government ban on facial recognition tech

On Tuesday, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted to approve a ban on the use of facial recognition tech by city agencies, including the police department. The Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance, introduced by San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, is the first ban of its kind for a major American city and the seventh major surveillance oversight effort for a municipality in California.

“I want to be clear — this is not an anti-technology policy,” Peskin said during Tuesday’s board meeting. Peskin deemphasized the ban aspect of the ordinance, instead framing it as an outgrowth of the sweeping data privacy reforms signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown last year and an extension of prior efforts in other counties around the state. In 2016, Santa Clara county passed its own predecessor to San Francisco’s surveillance oversight policy, but that ordinance did not include a ban.

Peskin clarified that the ordinance is an accountability measure “to ensure the safe and responsible use” of surveillance tech and to allow the public to be involved in decisions like how long data is stored and who can see it.

The ordinance passed by a vote of eight to one, with San Francisco District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani dissenting. Nonetheless, Stefani called the ordinance “a very well-intentioned piece of legislation” and lauded the board’s ability to handle respectful disagreement. Last week, the board’s Rules Committee elected to move forward with a vote on the proposal.

Importantly, the ordinance also includes a provision that would require city departments to seek specific approval before acquiring any new surveillance equipment. The ban would not impact facial recognition tech deployed by private companies, though it would affect any companies selling tech to the city government.

While city agencies will need to seek approval to buy new surveillance devices, they will be allowed to continue using what they already have, including police body cameras and license plate readers. Supervisors expressed hope that the ordinance would lead to a full accounting of such equipment.

Among the many divisive aspects of facial recognition is the technology’s disproportionate impact on already heavily policed communities of color. Recent research suggests that non-white individuals are not recognized as accurately as their white peers, a discrepancy that bakes racial profiling right into the tech itself.

The split over the ban is energizing both anti-surveillance groups and proponents of high-tech policing. The ban’s supporters include the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and local groups like Oakland Privacy.

“If unleashed, face surveillance would suppress civic engagement, compound discriminatory policing, and fundamentally change how we exist in public spaces,” the ACLU of Northern California’s Matt Cagle and Brian Hofer, chair of Oakland’s Privacy Advisory Commission, wrote last week in an op-ed arguing in favor of the ordinance.

Other cities and states are looking into bans on facial recognition tech, though San Francisco’s own efforts are the most mature to date. For example, a bill in Washington state would require facial recognition software to open itself to third-party testing. In that case, major tech companies are weighing the cost to their future business against public sentiment that facial recognition and other surveillance techniques are an invasive way for tech companies to leverage their power.

Across the bridge from San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley are both mulling their own sets of regulations for facial recognition tech, known as the Surveillance and Community Safety Ordinance and Surveillance Technology Use and Community Safety Ordinance, respectively. The East Bay might not be far behind San Francisco’s own vote.